US House passes Keystone XL bill despite White House's veto threat

The US House approved Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) bill to bypass the White House and congressionally authorize construction of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline’s northern segment by 241 to 175 votes on May 22. But the bill, HR 3, would be vetoed if it ever reached the president’s desk, the White House said in a May 21 Statement of Administration Policy.

It said the bill conflicts with the executive branch’s approval authority, is unnecessary because the US Department of State is already reviewing the proposed project’s cross-border permit application, and prevents full consideration of complex security, safety, environmental, and other issues.

Terry and other HR 3 supporters have said that Congress’s approval of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System’s construction in 1974 established a precedent for this bill. TransCanada Corp., the project’s sponsor, has had its application under federal review for 1,700 days, several of HR 3’s backers said on May 22.

“If the president were just to sign off on the Keystone XL pipeline today, he would create thousands of jobs immediately,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said. “Instead, he has delayed it for 5 years. That’s why the House is voting on this bill today.”

Several Democrats said the debate and vote were a waste of time. “The very decision to sign this bill would be with the very president who’s already considering the project’s application,” Rep. Jared Polis (Colo.) maintained.

Other Democrats who supported previous Keystone XL bills in the House said they opposed this one because it would excuse TransCanada from many permit requirements.

‘Deeply disturbing’

“The fact that we would deem a foreign company permitted is deeply disturbing,” said Nick J. Rahall (W.Va.). “It waives US permits for a major undertaking while US companies like Exxon and Valero still have to obtain permits for their operations in Canada.”

Henry A. Waxman (Calif.), the Energy and Commerce Committee’s ranking minority member, reiterated the main reason for opposing the project. “It would lock Americans into decades of dependence on dirty Canadian crude at a time when we’ve finally begun to reverse our carbon and greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

Republicans said HR 3 was absolutely necessary. “This bill leads where the president has wavered, and finally approves the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Daniel A. Webster (Fla.). The measure’s prospects in the Senate are uncertain, where Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is unlikely to take it up.

Oil and gas industry associations applauded the measure’s passage. “The Keystone XL pipeline project continues to receive broad support from the public, in March in the Senate and now again in the House of Representatives,” said Andrew J. Black, president of the Association of Oil Pipelines.

American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said, “The ongoing Keystone XL delay has sent a signal to all Americans that jobs and energy security are not a priority to some in government. However, we have bipartisan leadership on Capitol Hill; we just need leadership from the president to help our fellow citizens get back to work.”

Environmental organizations said the debate revealed the project’s many flaws and the vote basically meant nothing. “At the end of the day, the buck still stops with President Obama,” declared Franz Matzner, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s associate director of government affairs.

Contact Nick Snow at

Related Articles

Origin lets contract for Otway basin fields

07/02/2015 Origin Energy Ltd., Sydney, has let a $1.3 million (Aus.) contract to Wood Group Kenny for provision of a detailed engineering design for the onsho...

Puma Energy completes purchase of Murco’s UK refinery, terminals

07/02/2015 Singapore-based Puma Energy Group Pte. has completed its purchase of UK midstream and downstream assets from Murco Petroleum Ltd., a subsidiary of ...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil prices plummet on crude inventory build, Iran deadline extension

07/02/2015 Oil prices plummeted more than $2/bbl July 1 to settle at a 2-month low on the New York market after a weekly government report showed the first ri...

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

Shell makes FID on Appomattox deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

07/01/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has taken a final investment decision (FID) on the Appomattox deepwater development, authorizing construction and installatio...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...

Woodside-led Browse FLNG venture enters FEED phase

07/01/2015 The Woodside Petroleum Ltd.-led Browse LNG joint venture has entered the front-end engineering and design phase for a floating LNG (FLNG) developme...
White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected